This Could Be the All-in-One Home Automation System You’ve Been Looking For

This Could Be the All-in-One Home Automation System You’ve Been Looking For

By Jenny Xie
Imagine a home that turns on the lights, cranks the tunes, and brews a pot of coffee when it’s time to wake up. Homeone, a two-year-old startup poised to launch its Kickstarter campaign, can make it happen.

Today’s smart home isn’t necessarily smart. It can be a challenge to find an intuitive solution that orchestrates the many competing devices that control temperature, lighting, sound, security, and energy consumption in the home. Here to bring things up to speed is Homeone, a home automation ecosystem that allows you to connect your devices to a hub called HomeBridge and control them all from one apparatus called the BlackBox.  Headquartered in Prague with an office in Virginia, Homeone will be launching its Kickstarter campaign this week.

Measuring 1.8 inches high, the BlackBox is similar in size to a ring box and serves as the "brain" of the system. The glass top is touch-sensitive and illuminated by LEDs. 

"Today, there are many companies that offer home automation or smart homes, but most of them are clunky," says Vaclav Bilek, company CEO and cofounder. "They require you to buy a ton of devices and you end up paying a middleman to install and configure the system, so instead of simplifying your life, it's just a hassle. That’s what we set out to change with Homeone."

The Homeone app allows you to manage devices while on the go. Users can create their own Rule Templates in a guided beginner mode, graduating to expert mode when they're ready. They can also take suggestions from the AI assistant, Leeloo, or import rules from the community. 

The BlackBox has 360-degree motion sensors and detects temperature, humidity, light, CO2 , and noise. To make commands, speak to the Blackbox, use hand gestures, go through the mobile app, or interface with the TouchPanel, a separate device that attaches to your wall. An AI assistant named Leeloo (the founders are big Luc Besson fans) processes information and learns family routines. If your daily start time is 7 a.m., for example, Leeloo "will ask you if you want to turn on the lights, music, and get the day going at 7 a.m. every day," explains Bilek. "But she’s also smart enough to know that you’ll sleep in on the weekends. Basically, she comes to you with ideas for automating and optimizing your home, and you choose which ones you want to use."

The TouchPanel allows users to assign commands to hand gestures like taps, swipes, circles, and squares. You can also program LED and sound notifications. The basic model of TouchPanel is not detachable while the upgraded version has a magnetic charging station that can move from surface to surface. 

Leeloo is constantly learning thanks to the community app, which allows users to upvote or downvote suggestions, comment, and find or share Rule Templates that automate events across different devices. Community members earn points and receive prizes called "relics" to reach higher levels, racking up discounts, software features, and other surprises along the way. Crowdsourced suggestions help streamline the user experience across all of Homeone’s hardware and software products.

The community app is the hub for creating, sharing, or finding Rule Templates. Users can browse a visual gallery to find relevant rules for devices they own. They can also keep abreast of Homeone news, join forum discussions, and read advice articles on their devices. The more active the community member, the more points, levels, and relics they earn that go towards discounts and software features.

Final prices have not been determined, but Homeone estimates a price tag of $81 for the HomeBridge, $190 for the BlackBox, $100 for the TouchPanel, and $180 for the upgraded TouchPanel. To learn more about Homeone’s products and be notified at the start of the Kickstarter campaign, visit their website.


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